The synthesis and application of novel profluorescent nitroxides as probes for polymer degradation

Blinco, James P. (2008) The synthesis and application of novel profluorescent nitroxides as probes for polymer degradation. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


This PhD project has expanded the knowledge in the area of profluorescent nitroxides with regard to the synthesis and characterisations of novel profluorescent nitroxide probes as well as physical characterisation of the probe molecules in various polymer/physical environments. The synthesis of the first example of an azaphenalene-based fused aromatic nitroxide TMAO, [1,1,3,3-tetramethyl-2,3-dihydro-2-azaphenalen-2-yloxyl, was described. This novel nitroxide possesses some of the structural rigidity of the isoindoline class of nitroxides, as well as some properties akin to TEMPO nitroxides. Additionally, the integral aromatic ring imparts fluorescence that is switched on by radical scavenging reactions of the nitroxide, which makes it a sensitive probe for polymer degradation. In addition to the parent TMAO, 5 other azaphenalene derivatives were successfully synthesised. This new class of nitroxide was expected to have interesting redox properties when the structure was investigated by high-level ab initio molecular orbitals theory. This was expected to have implications with biological relevance as the calculated redox potentials for the azaphenalene ring class would make them potent antioxidant compounds. The redox potentials of 25 cyclic nitroxides from four different structural classes (pyrroline, piperidine, isoindoline and azaphenalene) were determined by cyclic voltammetry in acetonitrile. It was shown that potentials related to the one electron processes of the nitroxide were influenced by the type of ring system, ring substituents or groups surrounding the moiety. Favourable comparisons were found between theoretical and experimental potentials for pyrroline, piperidine and isoindoline ring classes. Substitution of these ring classes, were correctly calculated to have a small yet predictable effect on the potentials. The redox potentials of the azaphenalene ring class were underestimated by the calculations in all cases by at least a factor of two. This is believed to be due to another process influencing the redox potentials of the azaphenalene ring class which is not taken into account by the theoretical model. It was also possible to demonstrate the use of both azaphenalene and isoindoline nitroxides as additives for monitoring radical mediated damage that occurs in polypropylene as well as in more commercially relevant polyester resins. Polymer sample doped with nitroxide were exposed to both thermo-and photo-oxidative conditions with all nitroxides showing a protective effect. It was found that isoindoline nitroxides were able to indicate radical formation in polypropylene aged at elevated temperatures via fluorescence build-up. The azaphenalene nitroxide TMAO showed no such build-up of fluorescence. This was believed to be due to the more labile bond between the nitroxide and macromolecule and the protection may occur through a classical Denisov cycle, as is expected for commercially available HAS units. Finally, A new profluorescent dinitroxide, BTMIOA (9,10-bis(1,1,3,3- tetramethylisoindolin-2-yloxyl-5-yl)anthracene), was synthesised and shown to be a powerful probe for detecting changes during the initial stages of thermo-oxidative degradation of polypropylene. This probe, which contains a 9,10-diphenylanthracene core linked to two nitroxides, possesses strongly suppressed fluorescence due to quenching by the two nitroxide groups. This molecule also showed the greatest protective effect on thermo-oxidativly aged polypropylene. Most importantly, BTMIOA was found to be a valuable tool for imaging and mapping free-radical generation in polypropylene using fluorescence microscopy.

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ID Code: 26376
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Bottle, Steven & George, Graeme
Keywords: azaphenalene, cyclic voltammetry, fluorescence, fluorophore, free radical, hydroxylamine, isoindoline, nitroxide, oxidation, oxoammonium, paramagnetic, polymer degradation, polypropylene, photo-oxidation, profluorescent, thermooxidation, redox.
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 16 Jul 2009 03:00
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:53

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